It was early spring and we had just recently said: “I do”. When taking a conventional (out of town/state/country) honeymoon was out of the question due to the timing of work/graduate school, we knew we needed to plan the ultimate “staycation” instead. What we didn’t realize at the time was that our little staycation would end up rivaling our eventual honeymoon out of the country. Furthermore, our staycation would forever be remembered as one of the best weeks of our life. Wondering how you can plan and achieve your dream staycation? I’ve got you covered!
WHAT is a staycation?
You may be wondering, “what exactly is a staycation”? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “A staycation is a vacation spent at home or nearby.” And, according to the “Simply September Dictionary” (a.k.a. yours truly), “A staycation is a time period where you allow yourself to take a hiatus from your daily adult responsibilities. Furthermore, it is a time where you actually get to attempt and enjoy every one of those activities that you once found yourself saying, “someday when life slows down, I want to try that” without a single ping of guilt.”
WHO can take a staycation?
As stated above, when we planned and took our first ever staycation, we took it as a newlywed couple (plus our dog!). While it is true that throwing “adulting” out the window was far easier without the responsibility of caring for children, I am here to tell all those curious and hopeful parents out there… all hope is not lost! We have since taken a staycation as a family (married couple, plus our toddler, baby, and dog) and it was phenomenal! Of course, we may have had to substitute a bar for a park or two… but who is counting ;).
HOW to take a staycation?
So now that you know you CAN take a staycation, you are probably wondering HOW. As a veteran staycationer (yes, I just made up my own word), below is my best advice for how to plan your dream staycation.
- CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULES. Whether you plan for a weeklong staycation or a long weekend staycation, either way… take the time off of work and make sure you have no appointments scheduled.
- LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY BREAK. Turn off your cell phones, put an automated message up on your email letting people know you will be on “vacation” for however long designated, let family know you won’t be around for everyday phone calls, don’t return non-emergent messages, don’t check Facebook… you get the idea.
- THROW YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE OUT OF THE WINDOW. No setting your alarm and worrying about having to be somewhere at a specific time. Sleep in as long as desired and go to bed as early or late as desired… essentially throw away your everyday sleep schedule (note: I’m aware this is easier said than done if you have youngsters in on your staycation).
- DETERMINE THE TYPE OF STAYCATION. Just like with any vacation, the structure can vary. Perhaps you enjoy a heavily structured, busy vacation full of exploring and excursions. Not for you? Perhaps, you far more enjoy a relaxing, carefree vacation free of any structure or timelines. No matter the preference, you can’t go wrong with either one. However, determining your structure ahead of time will help you tremendously in structuring your staycation.
- AGREE TO TAKE A HOUSEWORK HIATUS. No cleaning, no grocery shopping, no mowing the lawn, NO housework! Sure, you are probably thinking… well, these things need to get done. While I know things come up (i.e. a winter staycation may require you to shovel snow so you can get out of your driveway, or a summer staycation may require you to water a plant or two); however, as hard as it may be, try to think like you are on vacation out of the country. If you were flying off to a tropical beach, the above things wouldn’t be getting done for that week, so why should this week be any exception to the rule? Stock up on groceries ahead of time, mow the lawn in preparation the week before… essentially, just free yourself up as much as feasible.
- SET ASIDE A BUDGET. When you go away on vacation, chances are you bring a set amount of money or discuss how much money you don’t want to surpass. The same rule applies here. Give yourself a budget and stick to it (or at least try ;)). Setting a budget to adhere to often significantly diminishes stress and who needs stress when you are on a staycation?!
- MAKE A STAYCATION BUCKET LIST. Whether you decide to include local “excursions” into your staycation or plan to never leave the home, you need a bucket list. In the weeks leading up to your staycation add to your list. Research local events in your community (places and activities you would never dream of doing when life is busy), jot down things that make you happy, etc. Then depending on whether you find yourself to be more of a planner or not, simply assign an activity per a day of your staycation, or go to your list as desired throughout the staycation for a more sporadic approach.
In search of inspiration?
If you are struggling with what to add to your bucket list, think about all the things that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t been able to lately due to “adulting”. Read a book, go to the movies, go hiking, take a bubble bath, get a pedicure, etc. If it sounds relaxing or elicits a happy emotion then add it to the list!
Here are some ideas from our personal staycations: taking a local cruise on a nearby lake, sitting by the beach, restaurant hopping for appetizers, going for long walks, reading endless books, going to an ice cream shop, going out to the movies, renting nightly movies, going out for every meal, taking a carefree car ride to nowhere in particular, having a bonfire, getting a massage, window shopping, park hopping with your kids, going for nightly family walks, going to the local pool, make some tropical drinks from home, sit at a local coffee shop, etc.
WHY take a staycation?
So now that I’ve helped you answer WHAT, WHO, and HOW in regards to a staycation, the only remaining question is WHY take a staycation? My answer… why not?! Generally speaking, staycations are far more affordable, require far less designated time (don’t have to allow travel days), can be taken more sporadically (usually don’t have to plan months ahead of time), and perhaps my favorite feature… they allow you to enjoy your personal hometown. Whether you live in a large metropolitan city or a small farm town where cows outnumber humans, I can almost guarantee you there are adventures left to be explored throughout your staycation!
Have you ever taken a staycation? What was your favorite feature? I’d love to hear from you below!